Russian Champions Zenit out of Europa League
Moscow, March 15 : A missed penalty in the dying minutes cost FC Zenit St. Petersburg the chance to advance into the quarterfinals of the Europa League as they lost 1-2 on aggregate to Swiss FC Basel.
Losing 0-2 in the first leg away, the Russian champions were in a strong position as Axel Witsel gave Zenit a 1-0 lead going into the break, and a red card for Basel's Marcelo Diaz saw the Swiss team reduced to ten men for the second half, reports Xinhua.
Zenit, however, were unable to break the visitors down. In a desperate, at times acrimonious final quarter of an hour, the home side piled on wave after wave of attack and came as close as hitting the post before being awarded a controversial 86th-minute penalty.
Captain Roman Shirokov was unable to capitalise on this golden late opportunity to keep Zenit's hopes alive.
Zenit's early exit from Europe's second-tier competition marks a major disappointment for the Russian club, who were expected to provide stiff opposition to Europe's biggest and best clubs in the late rounds of the Champions' League.
Zenit are currently third in the Russian Premier League.
Following are the Europa League last 16, second leg results Thursday:
At Moscow: Rubin Kazan (Russia) 2 Levante (Spain) 0
Rubin win 2-0 on aggregate
At St Petersburg: Zenit St.Petersburg (Russia) 1 Basel (Switzerland) 0
Basel win 2-1 on aggregate
At Milan: Inter Milan (Italy) 4 Tottenham (England) 1
4-4 on aggregate, Tottenham win on away goals
At Bordeaux: Bordeaux (France) 2 Benfica (Portugal) 3
Benfica win 4-2 on aggregate
At London: Chelsea (England) 3 Steaua Bucharest (Romania) 1
Chelsea win 3-2 on aggregate
At Istanbul: Fenerbahce (Turkey) 1 Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic) 1
Fenerbahce win 2-1 on aggregate
At Rome: Lazio (Italy) 3 Stuttgart (Germany) 1
Lazio win 5-1 on aggregate
At Newcastle: Newcastle (England) 1 Anzhi Makhachkala (Russia) 0
Newcastle win 1-0 on aggregate